Tag:Dusty Baker
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:47 pm

Reds name Edinson Volquez opening day starter

In what appeared to be at least a three-man race to get the baseball on March 31 for the Cincinnati Reds, former All Star Edinson Volquez will get the nod over Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto et al.

Dusty Baker made the announcement Tuesday , a day after telling Volquez of the decision.

The 27-year-old right-hander is certainly talented enough to be the ace of the defending NL Central champions. In his only full season as a starter -- 2008 -- Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. He struck out 206 hitters in 196 innings. He was so good, he even drew votes for NL Rookie of the Year , despite not being eligible to receive the award (details, details ... ).

In the past two years, Volquez has started 21 games, going 8-5 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. His start in last season's NLDS was a bit disastrous, but he was still regaining strength in his return from Tommy John surgery, which he had in August of 2009.

Volquez says he's already 100 percent and will certainly ready to go on opening day.

Baker seems to have arrived at the decision by simply eliminating the other starters in a relatively stacked rotation.
"We're very confident in Volquez. Plus, you name who you think can handle it the best," Baker said. "Is Homer ready for the No. 1? Is Wood ready for No. 1? Is Leake ready for No. 1? Cueto just signed a four-year contract, and what's he, 23 years old? He's already got enough pressure on him. I'm trying to relieve any pressure from him thinking he has to prove he's worth the money.

"There's nobody looser and I think can handle the situation better than Volquez. Not much bothers him. At least he doesn't show it bothers him."
As for Bronson Arroyo, who went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and logged over 200 innings for the sixth straight season last year?
"I think Bronson has always leaned towards not being it," Baker said. "He's more of a long-run type of guy. What's Bronson's ERA, [3.88]? If you're facing No. 1s, that equals a lot of losses. He's fine with it. I talked to him about it. He was thinking about it this winter, he feels it's the best spot in the rotation for him, too."
 -- Matt Snyder

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: February 17, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 5:39 pm

Chapman to relieve, but not close

Aroldis Chapman Aroldis Chapman will be in the bullpen, but won't be the closer this season, Dusty Baker told reporters on Thursday.

From John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer :
 “Let’s get this out of the way right now. I plan on using him like I used him last year. We’ll see how he progresses with things. How many appearances did the guy have last year?”

He had 39 at Louisville and 15 with the Reds.

“That’s not a lot of experience,” Baker said. “Not at this level. So we made concerted effort to bring him along slowly in a lower-pressurized situation. We brought him in mostly at the bottom of the order in the seventh and eighth inning. We hope to bring him along and put him in more important roles. We know the third day in a row he wasn’t nearly (effective). So we’re finding out about his resiliency, what kind of stuff he has two days in a row. Relieving is new to him. We need him more now as a reliever than a starter. The fact that he’s left-handed, the fact that he’s throwing more strikes, it might be easier on his arm right now.”

“One thing I want squash right now is closer-situation controversy. I know everyone want’s to be in a hurry to rush him in there. But we’ve got to get him acclimated to what he’s doing first. [Francisco] Cordero, even though it’s been exciting at times, he’s still second at least [in] our league in saves the last two years. That’s something that most people overlook.”
Cordero has 79 saves over the last two seasons, third behind Heath Bell (89) and Brian Wilson (86). Still, many expect Chapman to take over for Cordero, who is in the final season of a four-year, $46 million contract. He'll make $12 million this year with a club option (likely to be declined) for $12 million with a $1 million buyout. He currently has a limited no-trade clause.

The Reds still want to use Chapman long-term as a starter, but it won't happen this season. Pitching coach Bryan Price tells Fay that they'll continue to work on his change-up, but not use it in games -- as a reliever his fastball and slider are enough.

Price said the biggest thing he wants Chapman to do is to use his fastball to get ahead of batters, not worrying about placement much more than throwing it over the plate.

"Don’t put him in a position where he’s trying to shave off the inner or outer two inches of the plate early in the at-bat," Price said. "The way he comes in — if it’s the 95 or the 100-plus — he’s hard to get a good swing on. He’s a hard guy to square up. So we don’t want him to try to make the perfect pitcher’s pitch on the first pitch. We want him to attacked the zone with his fastball and slider and get ahead in the count."

As for Chapman, he tells Fay he's happy as a reliever.

“I didn’t think about it too much: My job is a reliever. I’m a reliever now,” he said. “I want to be a starter but I don’t think about that. My job now is to be a reliever. That’s job I’m going to do. The day they want me to be a starter, I’ll start thinking about it.”

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: January 6, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 4:15 pm

Reds, Renteria eyeing each other

You may not want to order that Edgar Renteria Reds jersey yet. It still looks like it could happen, but sources tell CBSSports.com that the World Series MVP and the National League Central champs have yet to agree on a contract.

Reports stated the team is close to a one-year, $3 million deal with Renteria to back-up Paul Janish in Cincinnati, but the team doesn't want to pay that much. Although, a one-year contract has been offered.

Renteria would serve as a reserve infielder and bat off the bench, not as the starter over Janish. Last season Janish went into February thinking he'd start for the Reds at shortstop, only to see the team sign Orlando Cabrera before spring training started. Janish edned up starting just 43 games in 2010, hitting .260/.338/.385 -- numbers much better than expected at the plate, but was still behind the veteran Cabrera in manager Dusty Baker's pecking order.

Renteria managed to start just 62 games for the Giants, hitting .274/.333/.381, but came up big in the postseason. The lure of a "clutch" veteran option could limit Janish's playing time again. While Renteria is obviously an upgrade offensively to Janish, he is not as good defensively as the smooth-fielding Janish.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:31 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 6:25 pm

Baker: no decision on Chapman's role

Dusty Baker was asked a lot about Aroldis Chapman -- imagine that -- during his media session.

Much of this offseason there's been talk about whether the Reds would use Chapman as a starter or reliever. There's not much movement on that.

"I don't know," Baker said. "It's what, Dec. 6?"

Chances are the Reds will have him try to win a rotation spot and if that doesn't work, they'll have a left-hander throwing 105 mph out of the bullpen again.

"I tell all my guys to take some time off," Baker said. "I just want them to stay in shape, to run. … He's never had an offseason before, [in Cuba] they play all-year round."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 10:27 am
Edited on: November 9, 2010 11:05 am

MLB Facts & Rumors Managers of the Year

Ron Washington The major baseball awards will be announced next week, and the staff at MLB Facts and Rumors is making our choices this week. Today, David, Evan and Trent name their Manager of the Year selections. As with the BBWAA awards, a first-place vote is worth three points, second place two and third place one.

The outcome of the American League race is considered fairly clear, while the National League seems to have several possibilities. Manager of the year is always the toughest award to forecast, because voters value different things.


David Andriesen

1. Ron Washington, TEX
2. Joe Maddon, TB
3. Ron Gardenhire, MIN

Washington was lucky to even have a job after testing positive for cocaine last year, but he rehabbed his reputation while making a good team great. Much of the credit for the team’s easy, confident vibe goes to him, and his players are very loyal to him. Maddon used a bunch of kids to best a team with three times the payroll, and Gardenhire won his sixth division title in nine years.

Evan Brunell
1. Terry Francona, BOS
2. Ron Washington, TEX
3. Joe Maddon, TB

Francona somehow kept Boston in contention up until the final week, an amazing success given the team was besieged by injuries so much it became almost comical each time there was an injury. Factor in Tampa Bay finishing with 96 wins, New York with 85 and Toronto with 85, and you appreciate how stiff the competition was.

C. Trent Rosecrans
1. Ron Gardenhire, MIN
2. Ron Washington, TEX
3. Joe Maddon, TB

I really believe Washington will win it, and it's hard to argue against it. Many were shocked he made it out of spring training after word of a failed drug test surfaced, and then Washington led his Rangers to their first-ever World Series. Washington's players love him and he was rewarded with a new contract and will also win the award, but my nod goes to Gardenhire. Yeah, it seems boring that the Twins win year after year, and Gardenhire has a big part in that. I'm one of those that believes 70 percent of managing is stuff other than in-game moves, and that's where all three of these excel.


David Andriesen
1. Bud Black, SD
2. Bobby Cox, ATL
3. Brad Mills, HOU

A lot of ways to go here, but Black and Cox both won with teams that shouldn’t have. The Padres fell short of the playoffs, but they won 90 games when a lot of people picked them to finish last. The Astros stumbled horribly out of the gate, but first-year skipper Mills guided them to a 59-53 record after June 1 even with Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman traded away.

Evan Brunell
1. Bobby Cox, ATL
2. Bud Black, SD
3. Dusty Baker, CIN

Cox did perhaps his finest managerial job in the offseason, taking a ragtag bunch of players and getting them into the postseason. San Francisco got a lot of credit in the playoffs as "outcasts" and "misfits" ... the Braves were the more misfit team.

C. Trent Rosecrans
1. Bud Black, SD
2. Dusty Baker, CIN
3. Bobby Cox, ATL

To be so close to the playoffs with only one legitimate hitter, Black deserves more than just a trophy. Will Venable was the only hitter on the Padres besides Adrian Gonzalez with 400 plate appearances and an OPS+ better than 100. Everyone expected the Padres to fade long before they ever did, and a lot of that to go to Black. Baker did a hell of a job in Cincinnati as well, and who wouldn't like to see Cox win it in his last year? But Black is the most deserving.

MLB Facts and Rumors AL Manager of the Year
Ron Washington takes this one in a rout, tallying eight points to four apiece for Maddon and Gardenhire. It'll be a surprise if he doesn't win the BBWAA award.

MLB Facts and Rumors NL Manager of the Year
Black gets the nod with eight points, as Cox finishes with six. It will be interesting to see whether a guy who didn't make the playoffs wins the real award, which is not common.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 1:42 pm

What is Aroldis Chapman's future role?

Aroldis Chapman Now that the Cincinnati Reds are looking ahead to 2011, one major question is the future of Aroldis Chapman.

The Reds could keep Chapman in the bullpen along with a 105-mph fastball and have a shutdown closer for years to come. However, they could also slot the lefty fireballer in the rotation and enjoy hundreds of innings. But would Chapman hold up as a starter? Will his devastating fastball and slider play as well in the rotation.

That's what keeps manager Dusty Baker up at night.

"We’re not really sure if we’re going to start him again," Baker told SIRIUS XM's Mad Dog Radio, noting that the club is already strong in the rotation.  The Reds are expected to pick up Bronson Arroyo's $11 million option and also have reinforcements behind him in Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Edinson Volquez and Travis Wood.

"You know, the bullpen was new to [Chapman] last year," Baker said of the Cuban who opened the year in the rotation for Triple-A before segueing to the bullpen in advance of a callup. "That’s why we... tried not to overpitch him, not too many innings.  But I see him personally probably being somewhere in the back end of the bullpen.  Because it’s hard to find a guy that can get righties and lefties out equally and that gas he has and you haven’t even seen his breaking ball and his changeup yet so his potential is unbelievable.  So probably somewhere in the back end of the bullpen."

While Chapman could be devasating in the bullpen, Baker shouldn't be so quick to shoehorn Chapman in there. With three above-average pitches -- if not plus pitches -- he could be a perennial Cy Young award winner in the rotation. These pitchers are far, far more valuable than any reliever could ever hope to be, even if Mariano Rivera in his prime.

 -- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 10, 2010 4:48 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2010 6:04 pm

No decisions on Cabrera, Game 4 for Reds yet

CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker isn't making decisions until he absolutely has to make them.

As for the status of Orlando Cabrera, the veteran shortstop will be examined before Sunday's game and the team will then make that determination. Paul Janish is starting Sunday's Game 3 and infielder Chris Valaika is at the stadium to take Cabrera's place on the roster if needed.

As for the Game 4 starter, Baker will wait until he knows there's a decision to be made to make it.

"It depends on who we use tonight and we'll determine it after tonight's game," Baker said.

Edinson Volquez started Game 1, while left-hander Travis Wood was effective in releif in the first game. Either could get the nod for a potential Game 4 on Monday.

Baker also noted the team had the Rangers-Rays game on in the clubhouse, not that they needed any other evidence that a comeback from 0-2 in games was possible, but it didn't hurt to have the proof in front of them.

"I know this might sound corny, but this is a real must-win," Baker said. "A lot of times you hear that question in the season, 'Is this a must-win?' Most of the times [the answer] is no, but this is a must-win."

UPDATE: Cabrera just said he doesn't know whether he's playing and wants to make the determination after hitting, but Baker and the TBS broadcast both say he's playing.

UPDATE: After hitting, Cabrera said the muscles in his left side didn't bother him. "Seems good, no pain at all," he said. He's definitely playing.

--C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 5, 2010 5:18 pm

Edmonds' status still in the air

Jim Edmonds The Reds aren't counting out Jim Edmonds yet.

Edmonds, who is dealing with an Achilles injury, will give the team the final word after today's workout in Philadelphia, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes .

If Edmonds can't go, the team will go with rookie Juan Francisco. The Reds sent first baseman Yonder Alonso home.

"[Francisco] can play more positions," manager Dusty Baker said. "If Scotty [Rolen] comes up sore or something, we've got another bona fide third baseman."

Baker said the team would go up until tomorrow's 10 a.m. deadline to set the roster.

However, outfielder Laynce Nix who missed much of the last month of the season with a sprained ankle will be on the roster and will likely start Friday against Roy Oswalt.

"He hits him better than anyone we've got," Baker said.

Nix is 9 for 17 with three doubles and two homers in his career against Oswalt.

The Reds will load up on the left-handers in the bullpen to face the Phillies, with Arthur Rhodes, Aroldis Chapman, Bill Bray and Travis Wood available in relief.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

Join MLB Facts and Rumors at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday to chat live  during the Rangers-Rays game

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed  .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com